Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos-On The Purpose of the Church

 Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

The purpose of the Church is not social, moral, philosophical or anything else, but pre-eminently soteriological and theological. This is especially obvious from the connection between Pascha  Pentecost and the Feast of All Saints.

“What is the purpose of Orthodoxy? It is clear from the calendar of feasts. We have Pascha and we have Pentecost. Baptism in water takes place at Pascha  Baptism in the Holy Spirit takes place at Pentecost. So until Pentecost the Holy Spirit visits the faithful. And what is the outcome? The Sunday of All Saints. In other words, that all Orthodox Christians may be numbered among the saints. The fruit of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost is the sanctification of man. This is the aim of Baptism.

Now only monks have this aim: it has become the calling of monks. Aren’t all human beings meant to become holy? Is it only for monks? What does this imply? Doesn’t everyone need to be cured? It is as though we had cancer and said that treatment was only needed for doctors, not for anyone else. What kind of medical science would accept the idea of treating only one group of people? Treatment is for everyone who is sick.”

The Gospel according to John, which is described as the ‘spiritual Gospel’, is read in Paschal season. It includes Christ’s high-priestly prayer, which refers to the vision of God’s glory, and to the Apostles’ acquiring unity between themselves within the glory of God. This became a reality on the day of Pentecost, and is also demonstrated by the Feast of All Saints, which is a fruit of Pentecost.

The aim that the Church had in view, the glorification and sanctification of man, is the original aim of the creation of the first-formed human beings. We see this from the fact that even small children can attain to holiness. From their birth they have an illumined nous, the noetic faculty functions, but it is obscured by darkness and the conditions of their surroundings.

Some people see the Church as a religion that satisfies their emotions and their mundane concerns. The Church, however, is not a religion.

“We have religious people who go to church, light a candle and pray that their daughters may marry rich husbands, or that their sons may find wives with good dowries. Is this the Church? That we should pray religiously for our vineyards? Yes, these are indeed religious matters, because God is interested in every phase of man’s life, isn’t He? So when we have problems we will certainly ask God to help us.”

Others see the purpose of the Church as being simply the salvation of the soul after death.


Η συγκινητική ιστορίας μιας μανας...
Εδινε για καιρό μάχη με την επάρατη νόσο από τη μια είχε να αντιμετωπίσει τον εφιάλτη ΤΟΥ ΚΑΡΚΙΝΟΥ και από την άλλη να φροντίσει το μικρό της αγγελούδι..
Η μάνα όμως πάντα θα είναι μάνα ΄και ακόμα κι όταν ξεψυχάει θα θυσιάζεται για το παιδί της... Η ηρωίδα μάνα αυτη μετά απο χημειοθεραπείες και επεμβάσεις ΄ξύπνησε στο κρεββάτι καποιου νοσοκομείου και το πρώτο πράγμα που ζήτησε για να ''πάρει ζωή '' όπως είπε ήταν να αντικρύσει τα ματάκια του μωρού της..
Ήθελα να σε προστατέψω, να μην πάθεις ότι εγώ.
Ήθελα να σου δείξω, τον κόσμο που δεν γνώρισα
Ήθελα να κάνεις όνειρα που δε θα γκρεμιστούν στο μέλλον.
Ήθελα να είχα κάθε κομμάτι της καρδιάς σου για να μην μπορέσεις να πληγωθείς.
Ήθελα να φέρω ευτυχία στη ζωή σου ώστε να μη νιώσεις ποτέ σου πόνο.
Ήθελα να σου δώσω πολλά χωρίς να πάρω κάτι πίσω,αυτή που θα σε ψάχνει μέσα στη νύχτα και θα σου δίνει ένα φιλί στο μέτωπο σαν ψιθυρίζει στο αυτί σου «σ' αγαπώ».

Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity.

The Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of Trinity Day is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travelers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.

We find the deepest understanding of this dogma in the icon of the Trinity painted by the venerable Andrei Rublev for the Trinity Cathedral of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. This icon is a masterpiece of ancient Russian iconography, and it is not surprising that the Church established it as the model for depicting the Trinity.
In Andrei Rublev’s icon, the persons of the Holy Trinity are shown in the order in which they are confessed in the Credo. The first angel is the first person of the Trinity - God the Father; the second, middle angel is God the Son; the third angel is God the Holy Spirit. All three angels are blessing the chalice, in which lies a sacrificed calf, prepared for eating. The sacrifice of the calf signifies the Saviour’s death on the cross, while its preparation as food symbolizes the sacrament of the Eucharist. All three angels have staffs in their hand as a symbol of their divine power.

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